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Verdict: 
Very waterproof backpack that's big enough for a fully packed commute
Weight: 
745g
Altura Vortex 25 Waterproof Backpack
7 10

If you want your bag to be properly waterproof then a roll-top is the way to go, and the Altura Vortex 25 is a solid example of the genre. It has a decent harness and it's pretty comfortable on the bike too.

Made from heavy duty 420 denier waterproof fabric, with fully taped seams, the Vortex features a roll-top closure that buckles at either side to keep things snug and dry.

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Like most roll-tops it can be folded over a couple of extra times to pack the bag down a bit if there's not much in it; to guarantee that water won't get in you need to make sure you're folding it over at least twice. Once it's shut you won't be getting any water inside.

Altura Vortex 25 Waterproof Backpack - roll top.jpg

Altura Vortex 25 Waterproof Backpack - roll top.jpg

I've done hours in the pouring rain followed by a hose-down to get the mud off the bag, with no ingress at all. You could probably take it canoeing and do eskimo rolls and stuff, if that's your thing. So, waterproofing: tick.

Altura Vortex 25 Waterproof Backpack - straps.jpg

Altura Vortex 25 Waterproof Backpack - straps.jpg

Inside there's basically one big 25-litre compartment that's big enough to swallow a change of clothes, your lunch, some tools and more with room to spare. At the back there's a pocket that's referred to as a laptop sleeve, and if you have a small laptop or a tablet then it'll fit fine. I can just squeeze my 15in Macbook into it, although it pokes out of the top a fair way. The sleeve is held in place by Velcro strips so you can take it out if you don't need it.

Altura Vortex 25 Waterproof Backpack - side.jpg

Altura Vortex 25 Waterproof Backpack - side.jpg

The main issue with any roll-top bag tends to be finding stuff – because you can't unzip it you always end up rooting around in the bottom, or tipping everything out. One solution to that is to put things in a plastic bag you can pull out if you need to. Generally I've only got a change of clothes, a tool pack and maybe my laptop in my backpack, so finding the right thing isn't too much of a chore; if you're the kind of person who can live out of their rucksack for weeks at a time then you'll probably want something with a bit more internal organisation.

> Check out our guide to 10 of the best cycling rucksacks here

There's a waterproof pocket on the outside that you can put a phone in, and a mesh pocket to hold a lock or your gloves, or other small stuff. And you get helmet hooks for attaching your lid to the back when you're not wearing it. If you're tucking down a bumpy hill then it's possible to lose stuff out of the mesh pocket, so don't put anything important in there. Like, for example, your keys. Just saying.

Altura Vortex 25 Waterproof Backpack - helmet holder.jpg

Altura Vortex 25 Waterproof Backpack - helmet holder.jpg

The harness is well-padded and comfy, with a sternum strap to keep it secure on the bike and a removable waist strap too. The back pads have air channels to try to keep you cool, and they do a decent job; the back's not the airiest I've used but it's not bad, and it's not uncomfortable against your back. The top of the bag sits low enough that it doesn't tend to interfere with your helmet, unless you've filled it really full.

Altura Vortex 25 Waterproof Backpack - back pads.jpg

Altura Vortex 25 Waterproof Backpack - back pads.jpg

Overall the Vortex 25 is a likeable bag that's very well sealed against the weather. If that's your main concern then it's certainly one to consider.

Verdict

Very waterproof backpack that's big enough for a fully packed commute

road.cc test report

Make and model: Altura Vortex 25 Waterproof Backpack

Size tested: 520 x 190 x 290mm, Grey

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Altura says: "A fully seam welded backpack pack to keep your gear dry and protected for the allweather commuter."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

* Welded seam construction

* Large main compartment

* Protective laptop sleeve (removable) fits 13' laptop

* External U-Lock pocket

* Waterproof front pocket

* Helmet attachment points

* Chest strap

* Removable waist belt

* Strategically located retroreflective trims for increased visibility

 

Fabric: 420D TPU coated Nylon

Dimensions: 520 x 190 x 290mm

Weight: 745g

Colours Available:

GREY

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It's a solidly built backpack that's completely waterproof.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Great weatherproofing, good external fittings.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Laptop sleeve too small, no internal organisation.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Maybe

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe

Use this box to explain your score

Depends on your use case really. If you're looking for proper waterproofing it's a very good option; for more general use it's decent too, but a zipped bag would probably be better. Not cheap, but nicely built.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 189cm  Weight: 92kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

2 comments

Avatar
Jharrison5 [129 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Lomo do a very similar one for 1/3 of the price: http://www.ewetsuits.com/acatalog/high-visibility-drybag-cycling.html
I got one as a freebie at a race last year that has been great.

Avatar
postmandick [26 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

LOMO 

again they do a very similar simple bag which I have used for the past 18 Mnths without getting my clothes/laptop wet on my comute .laugh 

£30 but it has no outside attachments but do you need them ? 

Lomo one is in day-glo yellow which 'contrasts' with my cycling gear so you stand out rather than a black rucksack smothering your day-glo jacket yes

Lomo one has large refelective strips down the back which again catch the attention of following drivers (hopfully) 

and NO Iam not employe by Lomo